Your Website: The Unmanaged Employee

I have been working on the agency side directly with Website owners since 1996 and I’ve observed that, for the most part, advertising agencies, web production companies and marketers see the launch of a website as the end of a marketing exercise. Much like they see the delivery of brochures to a distribution center. In actuality, the development and launch of a Website is more akin to the hiring of an employee and their first day of work.

Hopefully, both begin their day at the specified time and the next ninety days are spent learning and working to reach peak efficiency. And, as you would with any employee, you measure that performance against a set of pre-established goals on a regular basis with adjustments, remediation and further investment. For most companies it would be ludicrous to suggest an employee with an annual salary of $60,000 should be left to their own devices for a year or two, yet this is exactly what happens with the vast majority of non-eCommerce Websites, and just as frequently these same companies will reinvest a similar amount every two to three years. Often this investment is done without comparing past performance against a measurable set of business objectives and marketing goals.

Managing a website like an employee

The first step to ensuring a Return On Investment with a Website is identifying measurable business and marketing objectives, much like the MBOs of your managers. Of equal importance, and most often omitted, is identification and implementation of conversion points that identify progress towards those goals and how they will be measured. Unless your business model is selling advertising space, the typical metrics of the number of unique visitors or number of page views are of limited value as conversion or performance indicators. More appropriate measurements of conversion are: reaching target pages, completion of forms, complete viewing of videos or download of documents and applications, exit to and traffic from owned social profiles, and of course, requesting contact or completing a purchase.

The key to confirmation of progress and success is the use of analytics and conversion tracking. Generally the most successful people managers are those that work with their team members to track progress as a continuous effort and not something that’s done only during annual reviews. In a similar fashion, reviewing Web analytics on a quarterly basis or even monthly limits the progress and learning opportunities. Provided there is enough traffic, more frequent reviews make for rapid response, adjustment and progress.

Good Managers Nurture Talent

Just as your management team is expected to grow talent internally and work towards peak performance, you should be doing the same with your Website. Putting in place programs like A/B testing, conversion rate optimization and landing page optimization will put your organization, and your site, on the path to greater success.

So, take a second look at what you are doing with your Website, and work with your internal teams or outside partners to put a proper “job description” for your website in place - one with measurable goals against which everyone can judge and drive success.

Managing a website like an employee

Just as your management team is expected to grow talent internally and work towards peak performance, you should be doing the same with your Website. Putting in place programs like A/B testing, conversion rate optimization and landing page optimization will put your organization, and your site, on the path to greater success.

So, take a second look at what you are doing with your Website, and work with your internal teams or outside partners to put a proper “job description” for your website in place - one with measurable goals against which everyone can judge and drive success.